Free anthropology seminars 


Daryl Guse and Richard Woolfe present ‘Images of Asia: South East Asian influences in Indigenous rock paintings of the Northern Territory, Australia‘, as part of Archaeology Week celebrations on 26 May from 4pm.

The seminar will explore the nature and importance of the interaction between South East Asian maritime communities and Indigenous hunter-gatherer peoples in northern Australia.

It is estimated that South East Asian maritime communities have been visiting the north Australian coastline for approximately 400 years prior to the establishment of the first successful British settlement of Port Darwin in 1869.

These South East Asian maritime visitors, known collectively as the ‘Macassans’ established an important trading and social link with Indigenous hunter-gatherer communities in the Top End of the Northern Territory.

Evidence from their Trepang (sea cucumber) processing camps can be found in archaeological sites along the coastline of remote northern Australia. Indigenous culture and languages have adopted many South East Asian customs. Signs of this interaction between the Indigenous communities of Arnhem Land and the Macassans can be found in the regions extensive rock art record.

Arnhem Land is dominated by massive sandstone escarpments. This sandstone formation holds one of the world’s greatest suites of ancient Indigenous archaeological rock art.

Recent archaeological surveys have documented evidence of the trade and exchange between the South East Asian maritime visitors and Indigenous Australians in the rock art record. The evidence in the rock art of Arnhem Land illustrates that northern Australia was part of the important growing South East Asian trade network after the 16th Century AD.

The final anthropology seminar for semester 2, ‘Steel for stone: David Burrumurra on Maccassan-Aboriginal relations and treaty-making’ will be held on June 2 from 4pm and presented by Ian McIntosh, a former CDU PhD student now teaching in the United States.

Both seminars take place in Room 39, Level 1, Building 39, Casuarina Campus.

Join the presenters from 5pm after the seminars for drinks and nibbles and further discussion in the small courtyard outside the lecture theatre.